How To

Table of Contents

How to use eye drops.

WARNING to contact lens users. Remove contact lenses before using most eye drops (except artificial tears without preservative and eye drops specifically formulated to be used with contact lenses). The benzalkonium preservative found in most glaucoma drops can soak into soft contact lenses causing them to become stained and possibly cause eye irritation.

 Other types of drops may also contain benzalkonium (check bottle or insert if you are wearing contact lenses).

  •  Wash your hands.
  • Remove contact lenses before instilling benzalkonium-containing drops.
  •  Invert the closed bottle and shake well.
  • Sit down, lean back, tilt your head back, and look up toward your forehead.
  • With index finger pull down lower lid to make a pocket for the drop.
  • Hold bottle over the eye between thumb and index finger of the other hand. May rest one finger or thumb against bridge of nose or brow.
  • Do not touch the tip of the bottle with lid or finger.
  • Squeeze a single drop (extra drops won’t hurt but are wasted).
  • Close the eye and press your index finger to the inner corner of the eye for 20-30 seconds to block the tear duct and prevent medication from draining away.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes before reinserting the lenses.

If you are using more than one kind of drops wait at least 2 minutes between drops. The wait prevents washing out of the first drop by the second drop. To prevent contaminating the solution in the bottle, do not allow the tip to touch your hand, any other object or the eye. This is critical if you have an eye infection. If you have a hard time delivering drops to the eye consider using an Eye Drops Guide.

How to use the eye drops guide.

If you have a hard time delivering drops to the eye consider using an Eye Drop Guide. There are several types. We do not promote or discourage any particular type. We have tried the “Autodrop Eye Drop Guide” sold on Amazon for less than $10. Instructions are included. It works with most 2.5ml and 5ml bottles. We saw no difference between those labeled Owen Mumford OP6000 and those labeled Maddak.

If you are using only one type of eye drops you can just recap the bottle after each use and leave the bottle permanently attached to the guide.

If you are using more than one type of drops you can choose to use a single guide and change bottles. Or, you can use a guide for each type of eye drops. This may be a good option for people who have poor vision in both eyes or who have hand arthritis. You may try one guide first and get more guides later, if needed.

A “Bottle Autosqueeze” device is available from the same manufacturer. It may be helpful to the few patients with weak hands or poor hand control. It is not usually necessary for the use of the guide.

How to apply eye ointment.

WARNING to contact lens users. Do not use ointment with contact lenses in the eye (ointment will cloud the lenses). We usually prescribe ointment for use at bedtime, after contact lenses have been removed for the night.

To apply ointment

  • Wash your hands
  • Remove contact lenses if you are using them
  • Sit down, lean back, tilt your head back, and look up toward your forehead.
  • Pull down gently on the lower lid and look up.
  • Squeeze about half an inch bead in the lower lid sac (between eyeball and lid)
  • Look down and close the eye without squeezing hard.
  • Keep the eye closed for at least one minute. During this time (with the lids still closed) move the eyes by looking up and down several times to spread warmed ointment.

How to clean lid margins.

Prepare a solution of about 1 part baby shampoo and 3 parts warm tap water.
Dip a Q-tip in above solution and scrub lid margins to remove crusts and/or discharge.
Do not contaminate the solution by dipping into it an already used Q-tip.
Use a different Q-tip for the other eye.
Rinse face and lids with tap water.
Use warm compresses before lid scrubbing in stubborn cases.

How to apply an eye bandage

A single patch of gauze-covered cotton is usually sufficient. Occasionally, two to three may be needed. Apply the patch firmly enough to hold the lid in place against the eye. Press with several pieces of tape starting on the center of the forehead and ending/anchoring on the cheekbone (not cheek to forehead).

How to use the Amsler Grid.

• Check the Amsler Grid daily (first thing in the morning is a convenient routine).
• Hold Amsler grid at eye level (consider taping it to the bathroom medicine cabinet door).
• If you wear reading glasses, put them on.
• Cover one eye and focus on the center dot.
• Check for any new wavy, broken or distorted lines or blurred or missing areas of vision.
• If you notice a change, contact us immediately.